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Blind Date, A Comeback in Modern Chinese Life


In ancient China most of people got married with the help of a matchmaker and the arrangements of their parents. The man's side, led by the matchmaker, would visit the girl's family to confirm each other's stance. The step is called xiangqin (to confirm attitudes).

Nowadays, there are millions of single people in big cities like Shanghai and Beijing, so the traditional practice of xiangqin, with more than 1,000 years of history behind it, has made a comeback in modern Chinese life.

Hundreds of parents of white-collar children gather together to choose suitable objects for their children's marriage in parks such as Zhongshan Park, and Zi Zhu Yuan Park in Beijing, since the end of 2004. They bring information, including their child's name, gender, profession and requirements of marriage, and play the role of matchmaker. It naturally develops as a "meeting to choose the best person for their children's marriage."

Every Thursday and Sunday, a man named Zhang goes to Zhongshan Park to choose a suitable partner for his daughter. Now he is familiar with persons there. "I do not think my daughter is unusual because there are many old and unmarried children here," he said. "I want to chat with persons here although I have not found the suitable object for my daughter."

"The traditional idea is that 'the male and the female should get married when they grow up,'" said Xu You-run of the center of mental health for youth in Beijing's Chaoyang district. "So Chinese parents will worry about their children's marriage, when they are at a certain age. In fact, it is useless." She noted that young people are busy with work, and have no time for romance.

Most of the children even do not see the pictures brought back by parents. Chen Tao, a 33-year-old IT professional, thinks that it is his private business to find a mate. It presents a different idea about marriage between two generations that the parents want to find a suitable person for their children to marry. Li Song, a 30-year-old woman, works in a government department. "I will find a man of my heart sooner or later if we have a predestined relationship," she said. "The love of the generation of parents is the prolongation of love of family. It is definitely unacceptable form our generation."


Besides the concern of parents, a single person's colleagues, schoolfellows, friends will introduce suitable mates for them. Also, speed dating such as 8-minute-dating is rather popular in cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou.

Some people choose to be alone and refuse to get married because of their busy life, indifferent attitude towards relationships, unpromising personality, and some problems which cannot be solved. Shaqing, a 37 year-old teacher of a university said, "Now it is nearly impossible for young people to compromise themselves to others, and if you compromise, your love will be degraded."

With the fall of night, Li Jing-ming's bar has more guests than before; he sends cards, wine, and wishes to those independent and lonely young people. Li Jing-ming said he believes that "their another half is waiting in a quiet corner for their object of heart."


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